Why is acceptance so important?
When we are thinking about making changes it is easy to react to the influences around us that are impacting on our thoughts. Equally, we get stuck in the same thought pattern which propels us to just do something. Anything. And this can contribute quite heavily on our decision-making processes.
I have always been good in a crisis. I can remain calm, take stock of the situation, weigh up the potential outcomes or consequences of different paths of action and make a solid decision to resolve the issue. It is one of my superpowers! This has stood me in good stead throughout my career, various life experiences with relationships etc. I probably learned it by living in an environment of high anxiety throughout my childhood. However, it has taken quite a long time for me to recognise that I don’t need to have the same quickfire approach in other aspects of my life.
Sometimes the best approach is to accept where we are right now. No beating ourselves up for how or why we got here. Just accept that we are here. No analysis of what this means and what will happen next. Just accepting that is the situation we are in at this moment in time. Only then we will start noticing what we might miss by being in a hurry to move forward. And it is this that will help us see beyond what we might have done and open up new opportunities.
Learning to accept where we are right now isn’t always easy. I frequently berate myself for little things I do and I am sure most of us do this without thinking. I am not referring to how we might put ourselves down in negative ways. I mean the little things we say to ourselves to make a point. Things we did or didn’t do something that could have had a better outcome for us.
“If I had only…”, “Maybe if I had…” or “I really must …”.
Typical things we say to ourselves and a perfectly natural response to something which might not be working out. Our brain automatically looks for what went wrong, gives it a quick analysis and then tries very hard and quickly to come up with a solution. So we can resolve the challenge that has just occurred.
We also keep at the forefront of our mind what should or could have happened. And we naturally want to get back on track to achieve that possibility. But perhaps we should consider we are not so stupid! Maybe sub-consciously our behaviour is showing us what we really feel about a given situation.
One way to test this is to start training our brains. Let’s automatically look for something positive when we have to accept something didn’t quite go to plan. At first, it might seem as if we are dismissing the part we played to get to this moment, but all we are doing is just parking what went wrong in another part of the brain. This allows us to focus on something else. And by focusing on a positive outcome, it tells the brain we can relax, no need to be anxious, everything is ok, nothing to see here!! And we all know we make better decisions when we are feeling positive!
What do you do when you just can’t accept where you are right now?
I often struggle to accept I haven’t achieved what I thought I would have by now in my life. I tend to have two overarching trains of thought that take over (or I succumb to!). I either get stroppy with myself and start down the negative thoughts path. Such as thinking of moments when I could have made a better decision etc. Or I get all fired up and start cramming my brain with unlimited possibilities to change things. Which inevitably leads to overwhelm and feeling stuck.
It is often hard to accept where we are right now in life and taking the time to just notice what is around us, who is around us, what our resources are and how we are really feeling, gives us time to breathe and reflect. Sometimes we just have to suck it up. Here I am. This is me now. If we don’t like it, then changes are needed. But I have learned to stop with the drama in my head. If I can’t accept where I am right now, who says I will ever get to a time in my life when I will know how to.
So I now look for the positive things around me to ground me and give me a starting point. I look for what I can accept and take it from there. It is not surprising that when we can say something is ok – our brains give a huge sigh of relief and that is when the magic happens! What could be your starting point today?
Is it possible to accept where you are right now and let any negative thoughts around it go? Yes!
As soon as you start to tell yourself off, remember we can only change our thoughts and feeling about what came before. We cannot change the past. If we want to avoid repetitive behaviour to change the future then accepting where you are right now as being your starting point will reset your brain so it can say, “Ah, a new challenge”. This will fire up the synapses and bring new creative perspectives to consider instead of, “Oh this again, I know how to deal with this”. Because the truth is this. Maybe we didn’t really take the time to recognise how to deal with something positively and we reacted to what was happening at the time.
A perfectly natural response is based on the information we have at the time. However, since then, we have learned from it and may need to change things a bit. But unless we tell our brains we have new information, it will want to stick to the pattern it knows. So, the only way around this is to give it a pattern interrupt.
And we do this by distractions, looking for something positive and simply taking a deep breath to acknowledge and accept – this is what it is right now. Then the brain calms down and can listen out for new information that helps move things forward. However small that piece of information is, nothing is the same, there is always something different and it is our job to make sure our brain gets the message!
What message will you be telling your brain today?
If you would like to explore this further – you can access the FREE TRAINING SESSION with worksheet provided here in ‘Passion, Purpose and Personal Power’! See you there 🙂